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Minimalismlocked

  • Keith Potter

Extract

A term borrowed from the visual arts to describe a style of composition characterized by an intentionally simplified rhythmic, melodic and harmonic vocabulary.

Although in the 1960s and 70s minimalist music was closely associated with minimalist art, itself in certain respects crucially modernist, it subsequently came to be widely seen as the major antidote to Modernism, as represented by both the total serialism of Boulez and Stockhausen and the indeterminacy of Cage. Such minimalism owes more to non-Western music, jazz and rock than to 20th-century Modernism or any other Western art music, at least that since the Baroque period. Openly seeking greater accessibility, it is tonal or modal where Modernism is atonal, rhythmically regular and continuous where Modernism is aperiodic and fragmented, structurally and texturally simple where Modernism is complex. First flourishing to popular acclaim in the USA, it was typified in the 1980s and 90s by the music of Philip Glass (...

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